Late on Wednesday night, the state cabinet took a major decision to extend the cut off date for regularisation of slums to 1/1/2000 from the present 1/1/1995. This means that slums which have come up between 1995 and 2000 will now be regularised and protected. A bill in this regard will be tabled before the state legislature on Friday, said a senior Congress minister.
In yet another move to woo slum dwellers on the eve of the Lok Sabha polls, the government has also decided to legalise the transfer of ownership of protected slums built on or before 1/1/1995.
Slum dwellers form a crucial vote bank in Mumbai and according to the 2011 census, around 41.3% of the households in the metropolis are slum households.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan made an announcement in this regard in the state legislature on Wednesday.
"Due to this pro-people slum transfer policy to regularise the transfer of protected structures built on or before 1/1/1995, such slum dwellers will also be able to get a house of their own in the slum redevelopment schemes and this will help make Mumbai slum free," said Chavan in his statement. The state government has decided to issue a final notification on this structure protection and slum transfer policy for slums.
"Slums up to 1/1/1995 are protected. If such slums are transferred, the person will get benefit in the rehabilitation schemes," said Chavan, while speaking later about the policy. "If huts are transferred due to the death of the head of the family... if he goes back to his home town and if the hut was transferred to others, then they were not eligible for slum rehabilitation benefits," explained Chavan, adding that this would cover slums which fulfilled all conditions for protection.
"The purpose of protecting slums is to ensure that they are removed and good houses are constructed. If the original resident is not staying there, then the resident (residing in the structure) is not protected and benefited," said Chavan, adding that this was a "popular demand."
Chavan also announced that all patients coming to the health centres and hospitals run by the public health department would get free medicines and consumables from March 1. A list of 429 essential drugs and 107 consumables has been prepared and this includes medicines used to treat cancer and heart diseases. The list has been prepared according to the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). The state and centre will together spend Rs 510.60 crore on the scheme which will make these medical establishments prescription free.